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Posts Tagged ‘Presidency’

The Obama Presidency was a Disaster for Establishment Democrats: 2

September 9, 2017 16 comments

In the previous post of this series, I pointed out that Barack Obama’s two terms as president was one of major non-systemic reason for the repeated and sustained electoral losses suffered by the democratic party. While the general public disdain about decisions and policies during his term are often attributed to racism, it is also true that he won both the popular vote and electoral college in 2008 and 2012. So clearly, something else is at work. I mean.. he did win many mid-western states with a pretty high percentage of whites in both 2008 and 2012.

In my opinion, public disdain of Obama’s two terms was largely due to the fact that he turned out to be just another empty suit whose decisions and policies helped the rich and corporations at the expense of everybody else. In fact, he was reelected in 2012 only because Mitt Romney was a bigger corporate shill than him. Obama’s popular vote margin did decrease from 10 million in 2008 to 5 million in 2012, as did his margin in electoral college from 365-173 in 2008 to 332-206 in 2012. Having said that, he won fair and square on both occasions- which is what matters in the end.

But that still leaves us with the question as to how Obama got reelected in 2012, after the dismal performance of democrats in 2010 midterm. Also, why he remained somewhat “popular” even though the democratic party suffered further losses in 2012 and 2014. Part of his “popularity” might be due to the fact that few wanted to call out the first black president for being an empty suit shilling for corporations. But the other part of his “popularity” is largely due to the fact that he was not Bush43. As many of you know, Bush43’s second term was such an unmitigated disaster that Obama could look competent just by not repeating any of the large screw-ups of his predecessor.

Accordingly, he was able to restrain himself from overtly invading other countries in the middle-east and making extremely poor personel choices (remember “brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job”) and being generally free of serious scandals and charges of overt corruption. Now you might say that this is a very low bar for somebody elected to the office of president. Then again, just look at the guy before him (Bush43) and the one after him (Trump45). Obama remained somewhat popular by simply following the neoliberal script- which is to appear erudite and competent, not make too many big short-term mistakes and cultivate rich elites and lapdog media types who will sing his praises.

The generic neoliberal script did not, however, work for the democratic party for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is much easier for one nominally powerful person at the national level like the president to cultivate his public image and elites. Presidential elections are usually about who is the lesser and more presentable crook to assume the post of chief executive of USA. Most people do not expect the president to be involved in the day-to-day running of the city, town or state of residence. Therefore, public expectations about him (or her) are very different from those of lower level elected representatives.

Elections at the level of representatives for national or state legislatures, in contrast, are often driven by partisan voters who believe that their choice will validate their beliefs. Since the majority of people correctly assume that electing democrats or republicans will not make their lives any better, it comes down to people who vote to validate their beliefs. That is why elections in USA tend to be driven by bullshit issues such as access to abortion, war on drugs, war on crime, welfare for non-white etc. That is also why “culture issues” dominated american politics and elections from mid-1980s to 2008.

But what does any of this have to with neoliberalism not working for democrats? Weren’t they able to win in states like West Virginia a couple of decades ago? Well.. they were able to win such “red” states as late as the early 2000s, but not because of espousing neoliberal ideas. Democrats, you see, were able to win all those so-called “red” states as long as their candidates promoted populist causes- specifically of the economic variety. As many of you know, establishment democrats became republican-lite by the early-1990s and their candidates either stopped being economic populists or were replaced by more corporate friendly figureheads.

It is therefore not surprising that those who voted in many parts of the country most hurt by all those “free trade” agreements and other neoliberal policies were increasingly of the type driven by “cultural issues”. To make a long story short, democrats abandoned people in ‘flyover’ states and those people then stopped supporting that party. At the same time, ranks of establishment democrats were increasingly filled with credentialed professional types who could care less about people who were not like them.

But what does any of this have to do with why the Obama presidency was so disastrous to democrats?

The short answer is that it was similar to the captain of the Titanic not altering course or reducing speed in a known iceberg field. The somewhat longer answer is that the ability of Obama to get elected, and the reelected, convinced establishment democrats that identity-driven neoliberal politics was sufficient to win against republican candidates. The two terms of Obama convinced them that they could sell a neoliberal turd covered by a thin layer of social justice issues and identity politics.

It is therefore not surprising that a lot of the so-called rising stars of the democratic party (Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Joaquim Castro, Gavin Newsom etc) are poor clones of Obama. They are all “properly educated”, photogenic, “properly pedigreed”, “media-savvy” people with handlers who feed them the right sound and media bites and who can deliver empty carefully-lawyered speeches with lots of fake conviction. While that strategy sorta worked for Obama in 2008 and even 2012, it is doubtful if it would work today.

You see, until 2008 many people in USA believed that their economic situation would keep on getting better, regardless of occasional and temporary setbacks. A number of events and structural shifts within the previous 8-9 years have totally changed that, especially for people under the age of 40-45. Today, most people (especially young) in USA simply do not believe in the system and its various “credentialed experts”. That is why somebody like Bernie Sanders got so much support among younger voters. Obama and his poor clones belong to the pre-2008 era.

Now this does not mean that they cannot win election in any state. Indeed, Obama clones can (and do win) elections in certain coastal states like California, Massachusetts and New York. However, it is also clear that such creatures are incapable of winning elections against even mediocre republican candidates in non-coastal states. But why? Well.. it comes down to the fact that Obama clones are unable to motivate voters who sit out elections because they correctly believe that democrats are basically republican-lite. In contrast, republican candidates can motivate their core ideology-based voters by spouting nonsense about “cultural issues”.

But what does any of this have to do with Obama’s position on “illegal immigration” and “free trade”? As it turns out, a lot..

While establishment democrats are busy expressing outrage about Trump’s plans to deport millions of “illegal immigrants” and “build that wall” between Mexico and USA, they forget that the policies of the Obama administration were responsible for more deportations (often under pretty atrocious circumstances) than Trump has manged to in an equivalent period of time. That is correct, Barack Obama’s administration started the current mass deportation machine with its private prisons, arbitrary powers and flagrant abuses of power. Is it any wonder that many citizens of Hispanic descent were not particularly enthusiastic about voting for a third Obama term under HRC?

Some of you might wonder why ivy-league educated “policy wonks”, such as those employed by the HRC campaign, could not figure out that many “illegal immigrants” frequently had relatives in USA who had become citizens- through naturalization or birth. Did they not realize that pissing upon voter groups who might otherwise be very sympathetic to your cause was a bad idea. Did they not realize that Obama’s deportation crusades had already put the democratic party on pretty shaky ground with Hispanics in USA- most of whom are Mexicans. Here is what I think.. establishment democrats did not care about what Hispanic voters thought because they believed that they had no option. While it is true that most Hispanics who voted still voted for democrats- a large number who could have simply chose not to vote for either party.

Let us now turn our attention to how the Obama administration’s support for various “free trade” policies and treaties as well as increased levels of job outsourcing hurt the democratic party. While Obama was not the first american president to pimp “free trade” and outsourcing, it is notable that a majority of job losses in sectors of economy with previously well-paying and stable jobs occurred during the 2nd term of Bush43 and two terms of Obama44. While the events which started that process occurred in the 1990s and early-2000s, it is noteworthy that Obama was far more vocal about his support for “free trade” agreements and outsourcing. Perhaps more problematically, many democratic candidates for national and state legislatures kept on repeating official party positions about “free trade”, education, skills, retraining and other assorted neoliberal lies even after it was obvious that most voters could see their bullshit.

It is therefore not surprising that many working-class people did not bother voting for them- as evidenced by low turnout levels in the 2010 and 2014 (and to a lesser extent in 2012) elections. In 2016, more than a few of them voted for Trump. It is important to realize that the democratic establishment willfully ignored the needs of the working class just like it did for Black and Hispanic voters. I should also point out that most Black and Hispanic voters are part of the working class. To make a long story short, establishment democrats took the support of their core voter constituencies for granted and then proceeded to ignore and humiliate them. While this behavior has been part of establishment democrat behavior for over two decades now- the two terms of Obama in combination their hubris led them to greatly speed up the process of alienating their key voter constituencies.

In the upcoming part of this series, I will talk about how the rise of “identity politics”, “culture wars 2.0” and SJW-ism during the two terms of Obama44 further doomed electoral prospects of the democratic party.

What do you think? Comments?

The Obama Presidency was a Disaster for Establishment Democrats: 1

September 6, 2017 27 comments

One of the more peculiar fact about contemporary american politics is that approval numbers for the democratic party are still slightly worse than for Trump. Let me rephrase that.. one of the two main political parties in USA has lower approval ratings than a rich asshole turned reality star who has flipped on almost every single electoral promise he made to this supporters. To be fair, the other political party (aka the republicans) is not doing any better and we seem to living in a very partisan era. But that still does not help explain why the democratic party has not been able to capitalize on the insane levels of incompetence and corruption displayed by the Trump administration since it took office in late January 2017.

So, how can the main (and only) opposition party in USA not gain any extra public support at a time when the ruling party and its titular leader are busy screwing themselves in public? Why is widespread public disgust towards Trump and republicans not translating into increased support for the democratic party? Why are so many voters, especially those from non-white communities, just not that enthusiastic about the democratic party? And why is the only generally popular national level politician a 75-year-old Jewish guy from Vermont who joined the democratic party about two years ago?

I have explored some of the many interconnected reasons for this failure in a previous series of posts. The main points I made in that series were as follows: a] democratic party establishment has become too incestuous, sclerotic and generally resistant to any type of change. b] It is almost completely funded, controlled and run by neoliberal corporate interests who try to hide their economically regressive policies behind token identity politics. c] The party bureaucracy and primary system is almost completely dominated by a bunch of corrupt assholes and hyperpartisan idiots. Also, there is no accountability for repeated failures. d] The major financiers, supporters and top-level cadre of the democratic party is almost exclusively derived from the rich and professional class- two groups with little, if any, real connection to the rest of the population.

There are of course other related reasons for the shockingly low approval ratings of democrats. The desire of coastal elite within that party to push gun control has not helped its cause in non-coastal states. Similarly, ad nauseam repeating of the “russian interference in our elections” trope since Trump got elected in Nov 2016 has not helped their overall public credibility. The point I am trying to make the democratic party establishment has done an incredibly good job of sabotaging its own electoral prospects. It is almost as if they are intentionally and systematically trying to lose public relevance. Even their new crop of leaders are full of photogenic, insipid and obvious fakes such as Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand and Joaquim Castro. I can go on about the many other structural reasons that the democratic party, in its current form, is doomed- but that is best left for future posts.

Instead I will focus of one of non-systematic reasons behind the failure of democrats as a party. I am certainly not the first to point out that Barack Obama’s two terms as president have seen a considerable diminution of the power of the democratic party on both the national and state level. His tenure as president has seen the democratic party lose control of the house, senate, over 1000 seats in state legislatures, multiple state governorships to the point where republican are the ruling party in almost 2/3rd of the states. The establishment democrat response to these massive electoral setbacks have mostly consisted of them saying that all those setbacks occurred happened because majority of the american electorate is irremediably racist. Of course, that does not explain how Obama got elected in 2008 and then re-elected in 2012.

I have a better theory to explain why the rise of Obama and his two terms as president have contributed to the ongoing collapse of the democratic party. My theory is largely based in how that rise shaped the democratic party- specifically its institutions and strategy. This is not to say that other factors such as increasing use of internet and social media by general public were without effect in that process. However, the more we look at all the facts over a longer time span, the more it becomes obvious that the rise of Obama and his style of politics was extremely damaging to the electoral prospects of the democratic party. But before we do that, we have to first understand Obama’s style of politics and its ideological underpinnings.

Barack Obama, for the lack of a better description, is a Reagan-era Republican. There.. I said it and you knew it too! The problem with his politics and its ideological underpinnings is that it is basically 1980-1990 era republican with a veneer of coolness and “inclusivity”. Also, since he is black, few people dare to say it aloud on any corporate mainstream media outlet- even Fox news. While he may not talk and act like a republican, almost every single policy decision (domestic and foreign) made by him is almost identical to what your average 1980s-1990s era republican would make. But don’t just believe my assertion without considering the evidence..

1] For a person who made his pre-political career as a “community organizer” in the black community of Chicago, it is remarkable how little Obama did to combat racism (overt or systemic) when he became president. As I pointed out in a previous post, it was smartphones with HD cameras and social media platforms which created public awareness about murders by police and other legalized atrocities against black people. Even the two biggest achievements of the Obama administration in that area (overview of some police departments and stopping police from getting military grade equipment) were insipid and in response to massive public outcry and demonstrations against murders by police and other flagrant violations of laws. To put it bluntly, Barack Obama did not care about black people.

We cannot also forget the harmful effect of deliberately rigged foreclosure assistance programs, created in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, on the black community. While these banker-friendly programs hurt homeowners of many ethnicities, the black community was (as often is the case) disproportionately hurt by them. We can only imagine the effect that this had on the lives of many hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of black people who were the subject for sneaky and unfairly foreclosure on their homes. It is no wonder that HRC, running for the 3rd term of Obama, had such a lukewarm response among the younger members of the black community. Simply put, Obama’s two terms were quite disappointing for the black community and has affected their enthusiasm for the democratic party.

2] The supposedly most important legacy of the Obama administration, aka “Obamacare”, was a massive public disappointment. While it did provide some improvement over the previous patchwork of rules and laws, it has not been able to tackle the issue of rising costs or provide universal health coverage. We can spend hours discussing how Obama killed the ‘public option’ in Obamacare and basically rejected universal healthcare coverage for a frankenstein which appealed to all the corporate interest donating to his election and re-election campaigns. Obama’s greatest achievement, then, is pushing out a ‘healthcare’ program modeled on the beliefs of some conservative think tank from 1993. If you call that an achievement, well.. perhaps your standards are really low.

It also did not help that the rollout of “Obamacare” was an epic public relations disaster. While the law is popular enough for republicans to be unable to repeal it today, its appeal mainly lies in being not as shitty as the alternatives- which is a very low bar. The point I am trying to make is that “Obamacare” is a microcosm of what is unpopular with the Obama school of neoliberal policies and its ideological underpinnings. It contains, within it, an example of every problematic aspect of his policies- from supporting corporate oligopolies and monopolies over public interest, unnecessarily complicated regulations meant to confuse and rob its users, broken promises about something as important as health care coverage, “credentialed experts” and other assorted conmen (and conwomen) padding their already fat paychecks to neglecting public concerns about the system.

In the upcoming part of this series, I will talk about how the Obama administration policies of immigration and deportation dis not help democrats increase enthusiasm among Hispanics for their party. I will also talk about the enthusiastic promotion of various “free trade” agreements and other secret corporate backed “trade agreements” by Obama over his two terms hurt the democratic party.

What do you think? Comments?

On the Probability of Trump Completing His Term as President: 2

July 16, 2017 11 comments

In the previous post of this series, I wrote about how overt attempts by the establishment and its MSM stooges to invalidate Trump’s victory in the 2016 election by connecting him to a largely made-up “russian conspiracy” are not gaining support among the general population. Now.. this does not imply that Trump is becoming more popular. In fact, he probably has the worst levels of public support for a president in living memory. However, his low approval ratings are due to his general incompetence in combination with numerous poor policy and personnel choices, rather than most people seeing seeing him as a traitor or usurper.

When I wrote the previous, and first, post in this series we still had not heard much about the latest development in this darkly funny shit-show. As almost every single one of you must have heard many times by now, one of his son (Donald Trump Jr.) had a metting with a mediocre but semi-connected Russian lawyer and a few other people who were supposed to provide some ‘dirt’ on HRC related to some of the Clinton families dealings with a few shady rich Russians. You might have also heard that the meeting in question, which occurred in mid-summer 2016, was attended by an odd cast of characters. Anyway.. as far we know, no money changed hands and very little of what was discussed concerned HRC.

Of course, the MSM is having a field day with this most recent “scandal”. In fact, they have gone so far as to greatly exaggerate the positions, abilities and power of the Russians who attended that meeting. For example- the MSM is portraying Natalia Veselnitskaya (the Russian layer) as some sinister genius when it well-known that she was, at best, a mediocre lawyer who happened to marry a semi-powerful prosecutor in her home country. Rinat Akhmetshin (lobbyist) is being portrayed as a “soviet” counter-intelligence sleeper operative while, in reality, he was just another semi-ambitious guy who joined the soviet army in late-1980s to get out of Kazakhstan and then moved to USA after the collapse of USSR in 1991.

My point is, the people attending that meeting were not especially smart or competent. I would go even further and say that this meeting and its cast of attendees had more in common with a sub-plot in “Arrested Development” than anything which could pass for half-competent espionage and skulduggery.

Nonetheless, establishment democrats are busy promoting this alleged scandal as the “smoking gun” which will finally allow them to impeach Trump and make him resign or remove him from office. Of course, doing so would result in an outwardly normal looking religious nutcase, also known as Mike Pence, becoming the President. Then again, establishment democrats have not displayed much ability to think strategically. I mean.. they have lost almost 1,00 state legislature seats and dozens of governor races in the previous 8 years, in addition to losing the house and senate at the national level. Their only major “success” has been stopping Bernie Sanders from winning the party nomination in 2016- though that one turned out to be a really bad idea.

Having said that, let us consider the short (weeks) and medium (months) term consequences of the establishment democrat obsession with somehow connecting Trump to Putin and Russia. Firstly, they seem to forget that the american electorate has heard this same basic fairy tale for almost a year now. Guess what.. Trump won the election even after democrats started pushing this story and his approval numbers, while low, are still a bit between than their own. Note to self- write a post on how democrats were able to achieve lower approval ratings than a reality TV star who has reneged on almost all of his electoral promises.

Secondly, their obsession with this made-up scandal has prevented them from focusing on his many real failures and fuckups. You would think that democrats would focus on Trump’s failures on issues such as preventing outsourcing or maintaining funding levels for popular government programs like social security, medicare and medicaid. But no.. democarts are busy pushing “Trump-Putin”, “Trump-Russia” and “Russia Hacked Our Sacred Elections” 24/7- regardless of the lack of solid evidence to support such connections and conclusions. Establishment democrat obsession with Trump-Putin-Russia (and simultaneous neglect of issues which most voters care about) is eroding their credibility with the broader electorate at an alarming rate.

Thirdly, making the MSM incessantly push this made-up scandal is corroding whatever residual credibility those outlets used to have- even six months ago. Think about it.. average people now know that CNN and MSNBC will spend multiple hours each day talking about the newest chapter of this obviously made up scandal while simultaneously ignoring their real and very serious concerns. They know that supposedly prestigious newspapers like the NYT and WP (and pretty much every other MSM paper) will almost certainly write a dozen pieces about this obviously made-up scandal every single day. Do you think they will care if and when they publish a genuine negative story about Trump?

Will write more about the general issue of credibility loss by establishment due to their numerous unsuccessful attempts at unseating Trump in a future post of this series.

What do you think? Comments?

On the Probability of Trump Completing His Term as President: 1

July 11, 2017 14 comments

One of the funny, if somewhat ironic, effects of persistent attempts by establishment democrats (and their media underlings) to delegitimize Trump’s victory in 2016 election by connecting him to some cartoon-ish “russian conspiracy” is that it has not increased their own popularity among the general population. It has, if anything, made them less popular than Trump- which is a most impressive feat. Curiously, the inability of establishment democrats to improve their approval ratings has occurred in spite of Trump doing his best to screw over the very people who voted for him by making a load of generally unpopular decisions on issues such as healthcare.

More than a few commentators on twitter have been baffled by the desire of establishment democrats to flog the dead horse of “russian conspiracy” while simultaneously ignoring issues which animate average people such as healthcare, jobs, education and other concerns based in real life. In my opinion, it comes down to the sad fact that they (and other “traditional” parties in the west) have become the willing and enthusiastic tools of multinational neoliberalism. In other words, supposedly “traditional” political parties have become intellectually bankrupt cults which lack the ability to perceive the world around them thorough anything other than a neoliberal filter.

But what about the question posed in the title of this post? Will Trump complete, or be able to complete, his four-year term as the president? Or will he be impeached before his term is over? Or will something, which will render both those options moot, occur before his term is over?

As many of you know, impeccably credentialed, coiffed and dressed presstitutes employed by main-stream media outlets (and their equivalents in the entertainment sector) have been busy trying to grab onto any piece of evidence and hearsay, ok.. mostly hearsay and fabrication, that Trump is a traitor who did something “bad” which will lead to his impeachment. As you know, I am no defender of Trump and expect his presidential term to be one giant shitshow. Having said that, I think it is incorrect to say that Trump’s behavior and actions are especially unusual for somebody who has been elected as president.

USA has had more than a few presidents who had behaved worse and done far more fucked up shit. If you don’t believe me, read a bit about people like Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Richard Milhous Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and yes.. even Barack Obama. Clearly.. being a child-fucker, genocidal racist, paranoid asshole, demented moron, corrupt piece of shit and obfuscating neoliberal is no barrier to getting elected and re-elected as president. Only a true believer in the dying cult of american exceptionalism would believe in the bullshit story that Trump is somehow uniquely damaging to the dignity of the “office”.

As things stand today, there is insufficient evidence that Trump did something illegal enough to make him resign or impeach him in a manner that looks impartial. Does that mean that Trump has not done anything illegal or made poor and questionable decisions? No.. it does not. For all we know he could be getting a blowjob from by his adult daughter under the table while eating well-done steak seasoned with tomato ketchup and accepting legal contributions from the Saudi crown prince. But you see.. none of those highly questionable decisions are sufficient to impeach him in an open trial.

If there was anything sufficient to impeach him in an open trial, we would have heard it on every mainstream media outlet by now.

So, what about the other establishment democrat plan- making him resign by harping on the alleged “russia conspiracy”? Well.. we kinda already know how that will turn out. As many of you might have noticed, most people in USA have tuned out of that farce. And why wouldn’t they? Every day brings yet more unsubstantiated claims about some connection between Trump and “Putin” that will definitely sink the former’s presidency and.. it all falls apart after a few days, or sometimes, even after a few hours. Meanwhile Trump is still president and playing golf on every single weekend.

I would go so far as to say that harping on the “russia conspiracy” now makes establishment democrats look like bungling idiots or bitter losers- depending on your viewpoint. There is therefore a better than 85% probability (my educated guess) that Trump will complete his term as a president. But what about the other 15%? What else could happen?

Here is where it gets a bit dark, but not in an unexpected manner. As many of you also know, some hyper-partisan democratic voters have bought into the narrative that Trump is somehow a traitor who is sullying the office of presidency. Given the secondary effects of many of Trump’s ill-advised policies and decisions, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that there might more than a few hyper-partisan democrats who will attempt to remove Trump from the presidency. We have already seen a teaser trailer of that particular movie, in the form of the recent shooting of Steve Scalise.

I would not be surprised if in a country of over 300 million people, more than a handful come to the conclusion that Trump has to be removed from office by any means possible. And one such attempt might actually succeed. Even more problematically, a successful attempt will result in lots of covert and not-so-covert celebration by establishment democrats and their hyper-partisan supporters. The point I am trying to make is that there is no good way out of this shitshow. Indeed, letting Trump complete his term might be the least worst option- especially for democrats. Will write more in a future part of this series depending on feedback from commentators.

What do you think? Comments?